Margaret Atwood, author of the seismic, seminal 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale came on the #VelshiBannedBookClub for the first time on Sunday, May 1, 2022. That day’s conversation started with the Oscar Wilde quote, “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.” By the next day, that quote and our conversation felt eerily prophetic.
Hours later, on May 2, a draft of the Supreme Court’s majority decision on Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked. On June 24, that decision would explicitly overturn Roe vs. Wade, ending the constitutional right to abortion in this country. The theme of women’s bodily autonomy is intrinsic to dystopian world of The Handmaid’s Tale. So are the concepts of theocracy and autocracy.
Sadly, Atwood feels these themes are more apparent than ever in the decidedly nonfiction reality of the United States today. In our extended chat, the 82-year-old poet and novelist dives into science:
“A belief is a belief. It is not evidence based. And an opinion can be based on a belief or on a set of provable facts. All of these ideas that a cluster of cells is a human being — that is a belief.”
She calls the subversion of religion, especially a subversion based in White supremacy, “a sham version of Christianity.”
And, she offers some cold comfort about the January 6 insurrection. “The difference between January 6 and what happens in The Handmaid’s Tale is, what happens in The Handmaid’s Tale was better organized.”
Listen to the interview below:
Velshi and Atwood Discuss A Handmaid’s Tale
Velshi on banned books on MSNBC:
MORE ON BOOKS FROM THE CITIZEN